|For the first time we delibrately turn and head west, our target the island Orhlon on lake Baikal. Russia is vast really vast, although we don’t travel fast we do try cover 3-400km which takes a day despite this it still took a good two days to reach the island the last fifty back on the dirt. During this time we had hugged the coastline of the lake most of the time so you get an idea of how big it is. The lake had always been a target to visit and have some time out in the early stages of our planning but the island was on the recommendation of Rob (51st traverse) the kiwi we met in Almaty who so far had been spot on with his suggestions, it was on his advice we veered off the main route through Mongolia and took the middle route a choice which proved the best route regards roads, scenery and river crossings.
The island did not disapoint the only draw back being we didn’t have enough time there due to the fact we have to back track to Ulan Ude to continue east. If you like parties and bustle then it’s not for you if however you like sandy beaches if fact entire penisulars to yourself only sharing with the wildlife, beautiful sunsets and total peace and quiet then it’s fab. We did travel into the only town on island to stock up and visit the famous penisular featured on all promotional material. We met two German ladies who had a week on the island the rest on the main land they were gob smaked that we had travelled this far under our own steam, as were all the Russians we encountered. Holiday over we board the free ferry to return befriending a couple of Russians in the queue. One of whom we are squeezed next to on the ferry, he cannot exit his vehicle so Kev and he converse though his small quarter light window resulting in him handing his hunting knife out to Kev as a present don’t know what they will make of that on the borders! It was an amazing gesture of friendship.
This region of Russia is breathtaking, defiantely one to put on the holiday list.